benjamin samuel's captivating artwork visualizes the 2008 market crash
 

benjamin samuel's captivating artwork visualizes the 2008 market crash

 

new york-based artist benjamin samuel translates the dramatic market crash of 2008 into his latest collection dow jones industrial 30+1, set to be exhibited at the portal art fair in manhattan. the designer first became fascinated by the stock market back in early 2009 as the dow was approaching its lowest point. as someone who is interested in math, numbers and programming, the abstract nature of the stock market very much appealed to me’, Benjamin Samuel explains, ‘after all, the stock market is man-made. the tension between the abstract nature of the stock market and the very real life stories you would see on the news prompted me to create my work.’

benjamin samuel dow jones 30 1 designboom
dow jones industrial 30+1 transparency in lightbox
64 x 43 3/8 x 3 3/4in 162.5 x 110 x 9.5cm edition 5+2AP

 

 

in order to create dow jones industrial 30+1, benjamin samuel gathered the closing prices of all dow jones listed companies for the entire year 2008 from the internet — he then wrote software code that visually transforms and represents the data. as each stock for each company has a fixed hue assigned, the artist proceeds to link and control the brightness of the color based on the price of the stock; higher stock prices translate to brighter colors and lower stock prices to darker colors. once his algorithm was set up, his computer code proceeds to translate the data into a visual image. ‘as humans, we have a tendency to see patterns in the most random objects and even where none exist’ elaborates the artist, ‘I was expecting to see a pattern emerge in the visualization of the stock market data, but was mesmerized that a man-made phenomenon, based at least in part on rational choices, appears so perfectly random, like the gentle ripples in a pool of water.’

benjamin samuel dow jones 30 1 designboom
the deutscher aktienindex 30+1 transparency in lightbox
64 x 43 3/8 x 3 3/4in 162.5 x 110 x 9.5cm edition 5+2AP

 

 

the artist conceived this work as a pair meant to be exhibited together. the corresponding work ‘deutscher aktienindex 30+1’ applies the identical technique on the stock market quotes of the 30 companies listed in the german stock market index DAX. while the company colors differ, the general composition of the two works is similar.

benjamin samuel dow jones 30 1 designboom
a close-up of the dow jones industrial 30+1 

 

 

samuel carefully researched which companies are listed in the index, and assigned a hue to each company based on its primary company color. his program reads in all the data, and arranges it in a simple matrix. he also applied a smoothing function over the image data, which gives the final work a calming and impressionistic quality. it is reminiscent of a flowing pool of water, which prompted the late german art and architecture critic dieter bartetzko to draw parallels to claude monet’s water lilies.

benjamin samuel dow jones 30 1 designboom
dow jones industrial 30+1 (left) and deutscher aktienindex 30+1 (right)

benjamin samuel dow jones 30 1 designboom
company color wheels of deutscher aktienindex (left) and dow jones industrial (right)

benjamin samuel dow jones 30 1 designboom
the dow jones industrial stock quotes

benjamin samuel dow jones 30 1 designboom
a portrait of benjamin samuel

benjamin samuel dow jones 30 1 designboom
cover catalogue of publishing company distanz

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lynn chaya | designboom

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    ×
    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    504,239 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine